Sportable Athlete To Compete At Desert Challenge Games
Visually Impaired Athlete
Richmond, VA (May 8, 2017) Sportable’s own visually impaired sprinter, Antoine Craig, will compete in the 2017 Desert Challenge Games May 11-13 in Phoenix, Arizona. This event is part of the World Para Athletics Grand Prix, a series of nine Grant Prix events taking place over four continents. The series culminates with the World Championships in July in London, England. The Desert Challenge Games will be the only Grand Prix event in North America.
This will be the first sanctioned Paralympic Track & Field competition for Craig, a Sportable athlete since 2014. Craig found Sportable as a student at VCU by reaching out to the Disability Support Services Center (DSS) when he needed a guide runner to compete in the Broad Street Mile. The DSS Center referred him to Sportable, who paired Craig up with Karl Cover, Sportable’s Visually Impaired Training Coach. Since being introduced to Sportable, Craig has run the Richmond Marathon Half and the Monument Ave 10K with the organization.
“I was watching the Paralympics last year since they were showing a lot more of it on TV and saw guys like me sprinting,” commented Craig. “I thought, ‘man this is cool. I didn’t even know that was a thing.’ So that’s when I decided to switch to shorter distances after participating in a few track meets and discovered it was a lot more fun.”
Craig will compete in Arizona with his guide runner, Freddy Derenthal, in the 100M, 200M and 400M. The two met at Sportable’s Marathon training program last fall. Derenthal is an engineering PhD student at VCU and volunteers with Sportable in his spare time.
“We started just meeting about once a week to workout. Once he told me about his goal of getting to Arizona, we started getting to work.” commented Derenthal. “We’ve been working so hard, but it will all be worth it when we show the Team USA Paralympic Track and Field coaches what we’ve got.”
The two have been training with the help of Melissa Ferry, Virginia Union’s head Track and Field coach. With her help and oversight, both Craig and Derenthal have developed the technical skills necessary to compete at an elite level.
To find a place on team USA’s “Emerging” Paralympic track and field program, Craig and Derenthal need to run at least a 12.92 in the 100. Their most recent time was 12.8.
Sportable’s mission is to create opportunities and transform lives. Sportable empowers individuals with physical disabilities and/or visual impairments to enhance their overall fitness and health through sport. Based in Richmond, VA, Sportable provides athletes in Central Virginia with 12 different adaptive year-round sports programs including tennis, soccer, basketball, road racing, rowing, swimming, and more. Sportable also provides the necessary adaptive sports equipment that may be cost prohibitive otherwise. To learn more about Sportable and its services please visit www.sportable.org or call(804) 340-2991.